There’s a saying around Calvary’s Young Adults Ministry, “honesty is honoring.” Quite literally, the root of the word honesty is “honor,” meaning to respect, esteem, or revere. Our candor and vulnerability, often given with courage, can place worth back on the party with whom we are sharing.
King David was no stranger to honesty when it came to conversations with God. Read even a handful of the Psalms, and you will find that despite the checkered nature of his life, David consistently returned to a place of openness before God. In particular, he was open about his emotions. One of his most famous songs, Psalm 42 starts with “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” David’s innermost self is yearning for God but is coming up dry. He is remembering and reflecting on the days when he felt full of joy instead of his present condition where “[his] tears are his food.” He feels downcast, forgotten, and utterly stuck. Instead of throwing in the towel right there, David goes on to have two honest conversations.
The first is with his soul. “Why are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” (42:5) David asks his inner self. In my own life, this practice of slowing down and getting to the “root” of my despair has been an invaluable gift. Is there something triggering my depression? An unwelcome stressor or a painful circumstance, or perhaps it is a chemical imbalance in my brain? Would it be beneficial to seek pastoral counseling or professional help to seek help?
The second honest conversation David has is with God, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” (42:9) Sounds like a harsh way to speak to God, right? But the truth is that the Lord knows intimately what we are experiencing. We can honor both God and ourselves in our honesty. Only then are we able to speak the truth of hope authentically over our present feelings and circumstances.
If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or harm to another, please reach out to the National Suicide Hotline for anonymous counsel and resources: 988. If you’d like to connect with a counselor or pray with a pastor at Calvary, please contact our confidential 24/7 Minister On-Call line: 818-991-8040.